Mr. Zuckerberg is working on launching the group along with close friend Joe Green, who was one of the CEO’s Harvard University roommates, these people said. The group is expected to be formally announced in the next few weeks, they added.The group, which so far doesn’t have a name, is aiming to raise roughly $50 million and has already secured commitments in the tens of millions of dollars from Mr. Zuckerberg and more than a dozen other tech executives including LinkedIn Corp. founder Reid Hoffman, said these people.
Zuckerberg’s group is not alone. Silicon Valley as a whole is becoming increasingly involved in the political game. Zuckerberg himself recently hosted a fundraiser for New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie. Other tech heavyweights have been major donors to President Obama (his campaign received $720,000 in itemized contributions from Google alone) and to the Democrats overall.As we’ve written before, the collaboration between Silicon Valley and DC will only grow in the years ahead. Silicon Valley needs Washington’s support to fend off challenges from rival tech companies in other countries (like China). These companies also want Washington’s help on IP issues abroad. And Washington, for its part, has come to realize that America will increasingly rely on technological strength to project its power abroad. Defense contracts have always been an important part of the nutrient mix that makes Silicon Valley prosper; this won’t change in times to come.Can this lead to crony capitalism and bad policy? It certainly can. There have already been cases when cozy relations between tech capitalists and lawmakers led to unhealthy copyright proposals. One reason we need a free press is to keep tabs on collusion between corporate interests and lawmakers.But the larger point remains: the information economy is not about the end of the nation state. States continue to matter in the 21st century, even to information entrepreneurs and social networking companies with a global reach.[Image courtesy of shutterstock.com]